Gordon Chan Kum Tong draws on a family motto when experiencing tough times.
‘Doubt Not and To Fear Not’.
It’s something this tough, 91 kilogram hooker, thinks of as he adjusts to the demands of his first pre-season as a Manly Sea Eagles Development Player.
A crafty, skillful player, little ‘Gordie’ certainly holds no fear when it comes to tackling players bigger and stronger than him.
Strong defence is what this 19-year-old prides himself on.
“My parents installed in me that motto at a young age. It means to never doubt yourself and to fear nobody,’’ Chan Kum Tong said.
“It’s a motto I carry through everyday life. It has certainly helped with the training sessions here…to try and not doubt myself against some of the bigger boys at Manly.”
Born to Samoan parents (his father is half-Chinese), Chan Kum Tong is another protegee of the successful Sea Eagles Pathways Academy.
At the age of 14, he travelled three times a week from the family home in Sydney’s south west to train at Narrabeen on transport provided by the Sea Eagles.
“The ‘Manly bus’ was so enjoyable. It created a great bond between the boys who lived out west,’’ he said.
“There would be two stops…one in Fairfield and then at Rooty Hill. We would get dropped home after training too.”
The discipline required to travel to the Northern Beaches after school put him in good stead early as he rose through the Sea Eagles’ Harold Matthews and SG Ball ranks.
He tasted premiership success in Manly’s historic Harold Matthews premiership win in 2018.
“It meant so much to win that grand final, especially against Parramatta,’’ Chan Kum Tong said.
“Many doubted our ability throughout the season and we finished fourth or fifth.
“Our premiership win was against all odds. We just dug deep and got through."
Chan Kum Tong’s high work rate, energy, and natural leadership skills saw him appointed Manly’s SG Ball Captain in 2021.
Being appointed captain was a huge stepping stone for my developmentGordon Chan Kum Tong on SG Ball role
“I just took the opportunity with two hands.”
It is with the same passion and enthusiasm Chan Kum Tong is now using training with the Manly NRL squad.
“This pre-season, I just want to learn as much as I can from the NRL boys,’’ he added.
“I know if I didn’t come through the Sea Eagles Pathways Academy, it would have been much harder to adjust in the transition from SG Ball to the development squad.
“I just want to play some consistent footy next year and see what happens from there.”
Chan Kum Tong couldn’t help but laugh when asked about an old photo of him and his brother taken during their days at the Bankstown Bulls with current Manly prop Martin Taupau.
“We saw Marty there and he was playing for the Wests Tigers at the time, so we grabbed a photo with him,’’ Chan Kum Tong said.
“It’s crazy to now be training with him. I never thought I’d be doing that.”
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